There really is something about EMDR that’s different from other therapies. The Heineken effect, perhaps, (hoping that our reworking of Dr Spock doesn’t bring down the wrath of the brewery’s copyright protectors…)
Not a miracle cure, at least mostly, but taking people to places that other approaches find it harder to reach.
A number of people we have supported with EMDR have generously agreed to put their experiences into words, offering insight and guidance to others considering this path.
Here is a selection, posted with very special thanks to the writers both for the thoughts and for inspiring shared journeys.
Today I had a dental appointment that involved the drilling out of a root canal so that a post could be put in to hold a loose crown. Lying in the chair, I almost enjoyed the chance to rest – there were a few unhelpfully imaginative thoughts which I consciously banished, but no adrenaline whatsoever
Two years ago, I could barely sit in the waiting room. Astonishing. I’m telling you this because it is a testament to your EMDR work. And you’ve probably saved my teeth!! (Dec 2016)
Such a gift working with you , you are a cool guy and it has been good. That was probably the most honest and truthful relationship I have had ( certainly with a man). (October 2016).
I really want to thank you (Mark) so much for so much – for being my first ever confidant, for helping me find safety and trust in the world, for your compassion, patience and positive regard, frankness and encouragement, and for your interest and desire to help whichever way. In a way you became the father, teacher, uncle and friend that I didn’t have and I’m forever grateful.
This short message could never do justice to the richness of my experience over the last couple of years. Suffice it to say that my life as well as the lives of those around me have been and will continue to be profoundly positively affected by your input. (August 2016)
From October 2014, a client who was preparing for the near certainty of a dear friend’s approaching death. We worked for just 10 hours, after which she wrote me these lines.
I did not know how I would be ready for the inevitable trauma, but somehow I sense that I am. that I have already lived through it, After having gone through it and cried oceans I would not have otherwise cried in EMDR. I am still sad, but I catch myself thinking, ‘It’s OK, your brain knows how to process this. It has already processed it, Trust yourself.’
The following client, working in what we call “adjunct EMDR” for just a focused six sessions alongside her mainstream weekly therapy, achieved reached a space of moving self-acceptance.
I used to think I was a rotten apple. I knew I wasn’t rotten to the core, but nonetheless, I was a bad apple. Affecting badly everything I touched.
Today, after our therapy, I discovered I am a fish. Capable of regenerating new cells, getting rid of sick ones in order to become healthy again. I truly thank you. I shall miss you and our sessions.
I can never thank you enough for taking me on the most important journey of my life. You are a kind, gentle and intuitive sherpa, and I will always be grateful and mindful of all I’ve learned with you.
(We love the metaphor of climber and sherpa. Like Sherpa Tenzing heading up Everest with Edmund Hilary, we can bring our own familiarity with mountains in general and acclimatisation to the heights involved. But it’s the client’s mountain and his/her triumph.)
Another client, also after just a few sessions, put her experience this way.
I found EMDR very unusual at first but with the safety and warmth of Mark’s guidance, the process was very powerful and extraordinary. I definitely got a lot out of it!
I am grateful to Mark, and to EMDR, for having transformed my life.
It’s not uncommon in EMDR to work with clients who have become quite stuck in other forms of therapy that might have lasted for years.
After four years of being in therapy, I became aware that I was suffering from severe form of trauma with PTSD symptoms.
Although conventional therapy was very helpful for most of this period, it reached a point that it made matters unmanageable for me. I was struggling to function with my daily routines both at work as well as in my personal life.
I suffered from insomnia and I struggled to remember things. I often felt paralysed with a sense of dread and terror. The world was a dangerous and scary place and I felt drained and helpless.
Fortunately EMDR alleviated these symptoms. EMDR is intense but effective, non-voyeuristic but most insightful. And it works.
Many clients find EMDR quite challenging at first, and not all stay the course. But those who do almost always find the journey an often unexpectedly enriching and life-changing experience.
It was like going on a journey, a very difficult one, but Mark facilitated this process with so much wisdom, warmth and grace.
EMDR can be very hard and challenging work. But with courage, warmth and engagement, great distances can be travelled.
Another put it like this:
I experienced EMDR as poignant, grounding and healing. Mark’s gentle and focused approach was consistent, safe and containing.
At times the path was tiring and rocky …. at others fun and humorous. A positive experience which helped me transform areas of my life which had remained stuck for many years. Highly recommended.
I would like to recommend the EMDR methods to everybody who is looking for integration of their whole personality.
For me personally the EMDR sessions with Mark helped to undercover and to reconnect with my early childhood experience. In the safe, comfortable environment of the therapeutic sessions I was able to recall childhood events including even nightmares which I dreamed in my childhood.
The EMDR sessions deeply influenced my future choices such as a change of profession. Mark is very gentle but very well organised – providing the structure and setting goals of the therapy. He led me extremely well through past experience.
The quickest and the most effective therapy which I have ever experienced. Deeply moving, not always easy, opening dark, repressed, and sometimes unwanted feelings – I recommend it highly!
And here is a comment very specifically on EMDR as a way of addressing old distress.
The beauty of EMDR is that it takes you quickly & easily into the exact place & time of both known & previously unknown trauma.
This enables the therapist to effectively reprogramme the emotional conflict connected with a trauma & release the negative charge around it.
Personally I have become more balanced, relaxed and at peace with myself thanks to EMDR.
How do therapist and EMDR interact? This was one person’s experience:
Many thanks for guiding me through the EMDR process with much felt warmth, tenderness, support and authenticity.
I know you say the therapist does very little in EMDR but I would beg to differ! It was a very powerful process. My heartfelt thanks.
And, as your humble Sherpa, thanks to all those with whom Mark has worked, and to those he and Jutta have yet to meet..